“I have walked every day for the past three months and not lost any weight! What is the point?”
“I did not eat any chocolate for a month and still gained two pounds!”
For many, the promise of a slim body as a reward for healthy habits is a big let down.
It has driven us to become obsessed or apathetic with our eating and exercise habits. Here is the truth: making healthy choices does not mean you will lose weight; but, those choices are still good for your health.
Unfortunately, we live in a culture that does not differentiate between health and size.
We see someone slim and assume they are healthy, whereas we may attribute an unhealthy lifestyle to someone who is overweight.
The truth is that we have less control of our body size and shape than we would like.
Even if we all consumed a “perfect” diet and exercise regimen, our body sizes would remain diverse. Magazines and media reinforce myths that if we follow this diet or that exercise program, that we will obtain the bodies we want. We try, we fail and we are discouraged.
An unfortunate side effect of the quest for weight loss is that people fail to recognize that, regardless of your body size, unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles remain huge risk factors for chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
Staying active and eating healthy are still our best tools for preventing or delaying these diseases, even without significant weight loss. There are benefits to both exercise and nutritious food that outweigh the numbers on the scale. So try reframing your healthy habits from weight loss to improving health, happiness and well-being.
Satisfy hunger with a balance of varied, nutrient-rich foods.
Take care of your body’s need for fitness through activities you enjoy (or might learn to enjoy!)
Remember healthy lifestyles need to be sustained over a lifetime.
Don’t get discouraged! Changes take time.
-Serena Caner is a registered dietician who works at Shuswap Lake General Hospital.